How to Use a SLR Camera

Single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras allow photographers to see the exact image that will be captured by using a semi-automatic moving mirror system.

Non-SLR cameras use a viewfinder system which means that what is seen through the viewfinder is not necessarily what will be captured on film.

There are also Digital SLR (DSLR) cameras which use a mirror positioned behind the camera lens to direct light toward the viewfinder when composing a photo.

Once the shutter is released, the mirror quickly moves out of the way, and light from the lens travels straight to the sensor momentarily blacking out the viewfinder.

The SLR uses a prism that flips the incoming image around so that it can be seen right side up bouncing it onto the focusing screen where you see it.

Things you will need

  • Preferred model of SLR Camera


Adjust the camera settings

    1. Power on the camera.  Ensure your lighting is sufficient, be it artificial or natural.
    2. Adjust the image mode on your camera: portrait if you want the subject to stand out; landscape for front-to-back sharpness; close up for small subjects or if your subject is far off; and sports to freeze the movements of fast-moving subjects.
    3. Adjust the aperture to determine the amount of light that reaches the film.  The aperture settings are marked by the letter F and a series of numbers.   The smaller the “F” number is the wider the aperture. The larger the “F” number is the more focus you will have.
    4. Check your shutter speed.  Most time the shutter speed changes when you adjust the aperture.  Faster speeds give more precise and sharper action shots.

Take your picture

  1. Use your right hand to grasp the right end of the camera with your forefinger lightly above the shutter release and the other three fingers curled around the camera’s front.
  2. Position your left hand so it supports the weight of the camera.
  3. Hold your elbows close to your sides to have the camera close to your body.
  4. You can lean against a solid object for extra stability.
  5. Aim the focusing point at the subject
  6. Press the shutter button halfway to focus
  7. Then take a picture


  • Practice using your SLR camera to get familiar with the settings and master the art of exposure.